TANZANIA will play Burundi in the CECAFA U-23 final to be staged this Friday at Bahir Dar International stadium in Ethiopia.
Tanzania qualified for the last-two stage after defeating South Sudan 1-0 in the tense final at Bahir Dar International stadium yesterday.
Burundi also sailed to the final after their deserved 4-2 win on penalty shootout after a barren draw in the normal 90 minutes. It was Kelvin Nashon who brightened Tanzania after netted the winner in the second half.
Kelvin Nashon scored a crucial goal for his country in the 64th minute through a set piece that deflected the South Sudan defender before sailing into a yawning net.
Burundi sailed to the final after beating Kenya 4-2 by penalties, after both sides failed to secure victory in the 90 minutes of the game.
Despite Tanzania's crucial victory over South Sudan, the game was challenging for the both sides. It was a game of equal proportions, each team looking determined to pick victory, but most of the attempts did not bear fruits.
The quality of South Sudan was on high balls, where they created most of their chances through set pieces, it was close for them to bear fruits due to the height of their players, but the strength and steadiness of the Tanzanian defenders prevented those attempts.
Together with the calmness of the Tanzanian defenders, goalkeeper Wilbol Changarawe appeared to be very active in saving numerous attacks from South Sudan.
The South Sudan midfielder Stephan Lony was the man who posed trouble to Tanzanian defence more often, among the attempts he made in the 37th minute.
Lony's strike was the only threat from South Sudan, but Changarawe's resilience saved well and gave Sudan the advantage to get a corner that didn't bear fruits.
Changarawe went on to rescue his team in the 73rd and 79th minutes to once again deny South Sudan an opportunity to level the score.
Living aside the strong Tanzanian defence, Tanzania's had an advantage in ball possession; Tanzania was indeed very stable at the centre of the pitch.
They created many opportunities; for instance, in the 33rd minute, Tanzania was close to scoring through Kelvin Nashon, but the South Sudanese defender blocked his attempt.
Minutes before the end of the first half, Andrew Simchimba attempted to score, but his shot was saved by the South Sudan goalkeeper Ramadhan Mayik.
Following that attempt, Tanzania created another chance in the 43rd when they were awarded a free kick after South Sudan's midfielder Stephan Lony handed theball.
Tanzanian skipper Israel Mwenda sculptured a set-piece and found Reliant Lusajo, who completed with a touch but it was well saved by Mayik. Simchimba made another attempt in the 67th minute through a powerful volley, but the Sudanese goalie easily grabbed the ball. Tanzania booked a berth to the semifinals as the best country in Group A with four points.
The 2021 CECAFA U-23 Challenge Cup is the ongoing 41st edition of the annual CECAFA Cup U-23 Challenge Cup, an international football competition consisting of the national U-23 teams of member nations of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA).
This year's tournament was reserved for U23 players but teams were allowed to field up to three players aged over 23. Uganda Kobs were the defending champions, having won the title in 2019 while Democratic Republic of the Congo participated as an invited team.